Photo Courtesy of CSU Athletics

Cross Country sophomore Anna Brandt rounds the corner for a strong finish during the JennaStrong Meet

 

October 29, 2018

Cross country’s Anna Brandt breaks record as season winds down

Anna Brandt became the second straight Viking to place first in the annual JennaStrong Fall Classic on Oct. 13 with her record breaking 17:55 time in the 5K event. It was her first collegiate, first-place finish and the fourth time she’s led the team in placing this season.

The team, coming off an 11th place finish at the All-Ohio Classic, in which Brandt set another school record in the 6k event, bounced back with a third-place finish at JennaStrong, its best performance of the season to date. Karen Barrientos originally set both school records – the All-Ohio in 2016 and the JennaStrong record in 2017.

“For me, it wasn’t about breaking the school record,” said Brandt, a sophomore. “I finished third last year and knew I had a chance to win but, breaking 18 [minutes in a 5K] was something I’ve been trying to do for so long.”

The team has had some strong performances this season under first year Head Coach Jason Hudson but had a few injuries that held them back as well. With the roster incomplete, Hudson said he knew he needed to call upon some of the top runners to carry the load in the meantime.

“With Anna, I told her to put herself in a position to win the race and with the others just put yourself in a position to run fast,” Hudson said. “In cross country, I throw time out the window. If you execute the race plan correctly, then you’re going to end up running fast.”

Brandt wasn’t the only notable performance at the Jenna Strong. Junior Jessica Finley placed 16th overall with a time of 18:46, marking her first 18-minute 5K time of the year. Sophomores Kylie Scott and Abbey Rojeck also posted personal best 5K times at the Wilmington, Ohio event, with 19:20 and 20:28, respectively.

With two top-five performances to kick off the season, and the rebound at the JennaStrong event, the Vikings slip at the All-Ohio Classic could be contributed partly to some mid-season fatigue, according to Hudson.

“The meets before that, people had some heavy legs — we were doing some heavy mileage at that point,” Hudson said. “Last week, before the JennnaStrong is really when we began to taper. We backed off the mileage, everybody felt better and that’s going to be a continuing process as we go through the remaining weeks.”

The remaining weeks are big ones, with the Horizon League Championships taking place Oct. 27 and the NCAA Regionals to follow, but Hudson and Brandt said they like where they are at. As Brandt and team look to add more memories in the following weeks, Brandt certainly has made at least one this season already.

“It was really cool because my brothers and mom were there, and coach was running to meet me at the finish line,” Brandt said. “They knew how much it meant to me. For me, the moment was very, very special.”



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